Staying Warm this Winter
State of Michigan – January 5, 2022
As Michiganders, we are all too familiar with long, cold, unpredictable winters. We know that it could be 60 degrees and sunny on Monday and snowing on Friday. That is why it is so important that we all take the time to prepare ourselves, our families, and our homes for whatever weather the rest of this Michigan winter may bring.
As your governor, I am committed to keeping Michiganders safe and lowering costs for families as the weather gets colder and the snow continues to fall. So whether this winter lasts until March or May, here are several resources that can help you stay warm and safe all winter long.
Home Heating Credit – The Home Heating Credit offers families support for the cost of heating their home. The Michigan Department of Treasury determines eligibility for this assistance and makes payments. Applications are available from mid-to-late January and can be made through September 30 of each year. If you anticipate needing assistance with heating costs next winter, make sure you apply for this credit once it becomes available at the end of this month.
COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) – CERA is a program through the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) that helps those having trouble paying rent due to pandemic-related hardships. Households that are eligible for CERA can receive utility assistance for tenant supplied electricity, home heating (any type of fuel), water, sewer, and trash (if billed along with another utility). As of January 1, 2022, MSHDA will not be approving households that are solely behind on their utilities. These households should apply for utility assistance through MDHHS at MI Bridges.
State Emergency Relief – State Emergency Relief is a crisis intervention program that provides assistance for energy-related expenses like heating fuel, electricity, and home repairs. Those who can demonstrate need are encouraged to apply online through MI Bridges.
Weatherization Assistance Program – The Weatherization Assistance Program provides free home energy-conservation services to low -income Michigan homeowners and renters. The services can reduce energy use and lower utility bills. Some of their services include insulation, air leakage reduction, smoke detectors, and dryer venting. These services are conducted by local Community Action Agencies and non-profit organizations. You can contact your local weatherization operator to start the application process.
Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) – The Michigan Public Service Commission administers the MEAP. The purpose of the MEAP is to establish and administer statewide programs that provide energy assistance and self -sufficiency services to eligible low-income households. To seek help, contact 2-1-1 or your utility to find programs in your area.
Military Families – Families of veterans and active-duty military personnel can receive emergency financial assistance to pay for electricity, oil, gas, and other heating fuels. Contact the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs 517-481-8083 for more information.
This is also an excellent opportunity to remind you about Utility Imposter Scams. Please review this message from Attorney General Nessel on how to identify potential scammers and keep yourself protected.
The Michigan Public Service Commission also offers excellent tips on how we can all be proactive about conserving energy and being “winterwise.” Some of these tips include:
- Shut-Off Protection – Senior citizens, low-income customers, those with a medical emergency or in critical care, and military personnel may qualify for shut-off protection. Contact your utility company for more information.
- Plan Ahead – Many utility companies have Budget Billing Plans that can spread out your peak winter heating bills, allowing for a more affordable monthly bill during the heating season. Contact your utility company for more information.
- Use Energy Wisely – Reduce your energy use using these helpful tips.
- Request Assistance – Qualifying seniors and low-income customers may be eligible for financial assistance. Call 2-1-1 or visit www.mi211.org to learn about agencies in your county that can help you with your utility bill.
- Be Helpful – Share this information with family and friends! If you are able, you can donate to organizations that provide energy assistance for families in need.
- Be Proactive – Contact your utility company as soon as you know you will be unable to pay your bill on time. Do not wait for a shut-off notice.
It is so important that we all take the time to prepare ourselves for freezing Michigan temperatures and the costs of heating our homes during the winter. By taking precautions, sharing these resources with our loved ones, and asking for help when we need it, we can ensure all Michiganders stay warm this winter.
Governor of Michigan